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Playing the field to find the right contractor: a how-to guide

It can be difficult to find a contractor you trust, and that will ensure your project is correctly completed. Here's our guide on how to find the right contractor.

4 min read

© Matt Gamble

Finding the right contractor to fulfil your renovation or extension project is one of the most important decisions that you can make towards the outcome of your future home. But, unless you have a personal recommendation from a friend or evidence of multiple positive reviews, it can be difficult to know where to begin.

In the current climate, where costs of both labour and materials are soaring, knowing where to find the fairest deal could make all the difference. This is on top of huge wait times that can delay the period of time between your initial idea and actually having the work completed. We’re going to run through our best advice for securing the right contractor for your project.

What’s behind the rising costs for labour and materials?

Price rises for building materials like brick and concrete have dramatically risen in the UK thanks to a nationwide shortage and competition. This looks set to be an ongoing trend for the foreseeable future that began with the backlog of renovation projects caused by the Covid pandemic. There are also suggestions that Brexit is still having a knock on effect as the prices for materials in the UK have seen a significantly sharper rise than in the EU. The impact of this is not only higher costs of materials for customers but also challenges for contractors themselves who, in more stable times, would often be responsible for securing building materials for their customers personally.

Similarly to the price rises for building materials, factors like increased demand for home renovations during the pandemic also increased the competition for contractors. This demand, in conjunction with Brexit regulations that encouraged many skilled contractors to return to their home countries, drastically reduced the pool of contractors available in the UK. The impact is that competition soared, availability decreased and prices boomed.

Why are contractors booked up so far in advance?

We touched on this in the previous section but it’s worth understanding why there’s such a huge nationwide delay for securing contractors for renovations and house extensions. One really significant factor has been the multiple impacts of Brexit, from soaring costs for materials to stricter regulations. This has created a delay for contractors to begin projects and develop a backlog of jobs. Speaking of backlogs of jobs, the impact of the pandemic was also huge for contractors. As more people were spending time at home than ever and it became clear that working from home would be a standard, people began to prioritise renovating their homes to make them more suitable for this new way of life.

Completing a house extension with the right contractor

How to begin your search from contractor:

Considering the fierce competition for contractors and the steadily high prices expected for building materials, you’ll want to secure the right contractor for your project with as little hassle as possible and as soon as possible. Our top piece of advice is to do your research thoroughly and request quotes from multiple different contractors so that you can weigh costs up against other factors like your impression of the contractor and previous clients’ experiences.

Connect

If you’re looking to embark on a home renovation or extension in the near future but you’re not sure where to begin, our Connect service is a hugely valuable resource. It’s perfect if you’re unsure of the type of contractor you might need or don’t have local recommendations. Our Connect team will offer introductions to vetted contractors in your area that could be ideal for your project. Learn more about how these contractors are vetted here or book a free advice call to discuss with us today.

References

When you’re on the hunt for the right contractor for your job, having a look into previous references of their work is one of the most revealing elements. It’s a fantastic window into the kind of work that they’re used to or capable of, and can really show off their personal style. Additionally, and importantly, it offers insight into how previous clients’ experiences with the contractor have been. After all, because contractors are in such high-demand, having a great relationship with yours will be fundamental for a smooth project. If the relationship with your contractor is strained and the work is disrupted, it could be an even longer wait for your project to get off the ground.

Accreditations

Another factor to consider when looking for a contractor is whether or not they’re visible on the  TrustMark website. TrustMark is a non-profit government scheme that’s been developed to enable homeowners to find trusted contractors so it’s a good place to begin your search. In order to be included in TrustMark searches and allowed to use the accreditation alongside their own names, building companies or contractors must agree to adhere to a set of requirements including a code of conduct.

Availability

We’ve touched on the frustrations that can come with long waits for contractors but it could be concerning if you speak to a contractor who is available immediately. While it could simply be a stroke of luck, we’d suggest asking certain questions to get to the bottom of why.

Safety in numbers

The more you shop around for the best contractor for your build, the better your chances of finding the right person to complete your dream extension team. We recommend seeking multiple quotes, rather than just one or two.

For greater insight into what factors to look out for and get the ball rolling on your project, book a free advice call with one of our experts today.

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